Arthur Gallagher, a smoker, challenged a ban on lighting up in city buildings, parks, and playgrounds in Clayton, Mo. The Supreme Court turned away the case Monday.
Michael S. Green/AP/File
The US Supreme Court declined on Monday to take up a case testing whether smokers have a constitutional right to light up in a public park.
The high court turned aside the appeal without comment.
The question arose in a lawsuit filed against the City of Clayton, Mo., and its officials after the Board of Aldermen passed a 2010 ordinance prohibiting smoking in city buildings, parks, and playgrounds.
Arthur Gallagher, a smoker, sued the city and its officials claiming the ban violated a fundamental right to consume ignited tobacco. He said he was a regular visitor to city parks who “ecstatically enjoys smoking tobacco products while doing so.”
A federal judge and a federal appeals-court panel rejected Mr. Gallagher’s lawsuit.
“We decline Gallagher’s invitation to declare smoking a fundamental right,” the three-judge panel of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals said in its decision.
The court also rejected Gallagher’s argument that the city had no rational reason justifying a ban on smoking in an open-air park because secondhand smoke would quickly dissipate. No member of the public could possibly be harmed, Gallagher had insisted.